For his first birthday, we took the little dude to the Philadelphia Zoo. The zoo is, of course, a great place for kids, even babies. My little man loves watching "doggies" and "birdies" in the park (I play along and call the pigeons "birdies" even though I'm of the opinion that they are really flying rats) so I thought he'd enjoy seeing other animals.
We went on a Friday morning, just as the park opened at 9:30a.m. I imagine it might be more crowded on Saturdays and Sundays, but I'd still recommend getting there at the opening time, as it definitely gets more crowded as the day wears on. My son isn't walking yet, but there is plenty for him to see from the stroller. In addition, he could stand at some of the floor-to-ceiling windows at some of the exhibits. The monkeys, or excuse me, the primates were a big hit.
There are a lot of special programs for kids and there's a children's petting zoo that I think my little guy will enjoy once he's walking. Plus there are plenty of food stands and shady areas to eat. And yes, the bathrooms (even the men's rooms--can I get an Amen?!?!) have places to change diapers. Just bring plenty of wipes and antibacterial gel--there is dirt everywhere in the zoo, not to mention lots of sticky fingerprints on the glass windows.
There are several ways to get to the zoo. You drive, but parking costs $12 (except for members--more on that in a minute). There's also SEPTA, which has one bus (#38) and one trolley line (#15) that service the zoo. Lastly, there is a $2 shuttle that departs every half hour from the Independence Visitors Center and 30th Street Station.
On becoming a member: if you're a single parent with one child, or a partnered/married couple with a baby under 2 years old, getting an individual membership may work out for you. It's $54 for the year and an individual member can always bring a guest. Plus kids under 2 are free. My husband is a member, brought me as his guest and the baby was free anyway. There are also family and family plus memberships. Tickets to the zoo for adults are just under $18 and just under $15 for kids, so if you plan on visiting the zoo more than once a year, a membership may be to your advantage. Plus there's that free parking and discounts on merchandise.
As for us? We plan on going back to the zoo next month too. Since we're members and all.