Over the last decade, the metacognitive abilities of nonhuman primates and the developmental emergence of metacognition in children have become topics of increasing research interest. In the current study, the performance of three adult chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes; Experiment 1) and forty-four 3.5- and 5.5-year-old human children (Experiment 2) was assessed on a behavioral search paradigm designed to assess metacognition. Subjects either directly observed the baiting of a large reward into one cup among an array of four, or had the baiting occluded from their view. In half of the trials, subjects were also presented with an additional distinctive cup that was always visibly baited with a small reward. This cup allowed subjects the opportunity to escape from making a guess about the location of the bigger reward. All three chimpanzees and both age groups of children selected the escape cup more often when the baiting of the large reward was concealed, compared to when it was visible. This demonstrates that both species can selectively choose a guaranteed smaller reward when they do not know the location of a larger reward and provides insight into the development of metacognition.