Before heading out into the harsh, but beautiful terrain, consider stopping here. You’ll not only be able to pay your entrance fee to Death Valley National Park ($20 per car) and ask rangers any burning questions you have about where to find the best views, you’ll also be able to learn about Death Valley’s history. Small kids will like the interactive 3D topographical map, while parents will appreciate the clean bathrooms and water bottle refill station. There’s even a handy chart in the bathroom with tips about when it’s most urgent to hydrate, which may be worth a giggle for kids (hint: it involves the color of your urine). Before you go, be sure to ask about ranger talks and walks that might be given during your stay. Young kids will want a junior ranger booklet — once it is completed, it can be checked by a ranger for a special pin. Open 8 am to 5 pm daily. Free.