Furnace Creek Visitor Center, Death Valley National Park
Furnace Creek is the main visitor center in Death Valley. Rangers are on staff to answer questions regarding back country options and what sights are open or closed. The is a large gift store and book store. If you purchased you park pass at one of the kiosks around the park, the rangers will ask to see it. If you did not get one, you will have to purchase at this time. Unlike the kiosks, you can pay cash at the visitor center.
There is a well done interpretive center with videos on the mining industry and wildlife in the area. Definitely worth taking the time to walk through and see everything. A perfect activity when the temperature hits 112 degrees like it did the afternoons I was there in late May 2014.
The visitor center opens fairly late at 9am considering that most people try and do as many activities as possible early to avoid the heat. The bathrooms open a bit earlier which is good if you need running water.
The Furnace Creek Visitor Center features a number of exhibits regarding Death Valley's geology, history, plants, and animals. It also has a gift shop for souvenirs. The Visitor Center is 190 feet below sea level.
Furnace Creek is one of three places to pay the entrance fee and get maps and brochures on the park. The other two are Stovepipe Wells and the Grapevine Entrance. Furnace Creek is also the location of the Death Valley Museum, a nice museum showing the history of the valley and the people inhabiting it.
Near Furnace Creek, the National Park Service operates a Visitors Center and Museum. The Museum is worth a visit in itself. Natural history and mining are explored in detail, as well as other facets of the desert. They also have a gift shop and a short film is available for your viewing. This a good place for information about the park.