Duck's long neck provides nice handhold for boy as other children tackle other areas.
Caption from LIFE. Duck's long neck provides nice handhold for boy as other children tackle other areas.Howard Sochurek—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Duck's long neck provides nice handhold for boy as other children tackle other areas.
Hands swarm over dazed linon cub, Caesar, who came down with case of overaffection.
Children lovingly assault a baby kangaroo by grabbing her neck and tickling her chin.
Children visiting at Brookfield Children's Zoo. Chicago, 1953.
Baby llamas at the Brookfield Children's Zoo in Chicago, 1953.
Sea elephant makes mistkae of leaving pool and runs into yo-yos.
Unsuspecting elephant is worked over by the youngsters, who stood in line to give him a careful hand examination. "He feels funny," one remarked.
Baby kangaroo being bottle fed at Brookfield Children's Zoo. Chicago, 1953.
A lion cub in a basket at the Brookfield Children's Zoo in Chicago, 1953.
A baby elephant at the Brookfield Children's Zoo in Chicago, 1953.
From "Zoo's babies get overdoes of love" at the Brookfield Children's Zoo in Chicago, 1953.
From "Zoo's babies get overdoes of love" at the Brookfield Children's Zoo in Chicago, 1953.
Popcorn-stuffed baby llamas, too full to walk, are lifted to cage.
Caption from LIFE. Duck's long neck provides nice handhold for boy as other children tackle other areas.
Howard Sochurek—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
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Celebrate Springtime With the Baby Animals of Chicago's Brookfield Zoo

Apr 04, 2016

Baby animals get their due all year round, but springtime is when they really shine: As their population is blessedly replenished, it's the only time of year when they're truly topical—newsworthy, almost. Back in 1953, the baby animals at Chicago's Brookfield Zoo made the pages of LIFE when they staged an impromptu rebellion against thousands of children in the zoo's newly opened children's section. Failing to differentiate between the live animals and their stuffed ones at home, the adoring children poked and prodded little llamas and kangaroos until the animals had had enough.

"Some animals fought back," the magazine stated. "A monkey grabbed a woman's lipstick. A baboon hit a boy. A llama who had had his fill of popcorn discovered a way to say so, and a loud-mouthed mother stalked away, yelling, 'That dirty brazen creature poked me in the rear!'"

The zoo quickly made modifications to the animals' fencing so as to prevent another love-fueled fiasco.

Liz Ronk, who edited this gallery, is the Photo Editor for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter @lizabethronk.

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