Hideouts and Strongholds
Lookouts + Outposts
Today we’ll trek far out into the wilderness (and maybe spend some time in space) to visit some of the loneliest hideouts in existence, including wildfire lookout towers, science outposts, lighthouses, and frontier watchtowers. These structures, at the edges of the world and the borders of nations, were built to spot trouble early and keep an eye on the unknown. Now it’s your turn to take a look around.
what you’ll need
Besides the device you're viewing this on, something to write with, and something to write on, you will need...
- A sed plastic cup
- A smaller clear cup
- Battery operated tea light (optional)
- Black paper
- White or masking tape
- Glue stick
- Soft, nerf-type balls or wadded up paper
- Cardboard boxes or other outpost-making materials
Ask About Today
If you got to spend a week in one of the watchtowers or outposts you learned about today, which one would you choose?
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Visit the Desert View Watchtower
Designed by Mary Jane Elizabeth Colter in 1932, the Desert View Watchtower sits at the edge of the Grand Canyon and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape. See for yourself and learn about the groundbreaking woman known as the “architect of the southwest” in this video from the National Park Service.
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Watchtowers Along the Great Wall
The Great Wall of China includes about 25,000 watchtowers along its length. Why so many? Let’s find out.
An Underwater Outpost?
In the Aquarius Reef Outpost, the world’s only undersea lab, scientists spend days or weeks underwater doing research. Dive in with Jonathan Bird in this episode of Jonathan Bird’s Blue World.
Look Inside a Wildfire Lookout Tower
Between 1900-1940, the U.S. government built hundreds of lookout towers to help spot wildfires—and some are still in use today. Get a look inside one of them and meet some of the people who work as lookouts in this article from the Associated Press.
A Lookout in Space
Orbiting about 250 miles above the surface of the Earth, the International Space Station is the largest single structure that humans have put into space. More than 230 people from 18 countries have visited it since 1998, and it has always had someone on-board since 2000. Get a detailed look and see how it was built in this video.
Make a Plastic Cup Lighthouse
Lighthouses are built along coastlines to help ships navigate the nearby waters. The United States alone has about 700 lighthouses. You should probably have one, too! Here are some simple instructions for creating a lighthouse of your own using plastic cups and other household materials.
Draw a Castle Tower
No lighthouse materials around? No problem. Try your hand at drawing a simple castle tower. Bonus points if you fill out the rest of the scene with castle walls, a wild landscape, mythical creatures, or whatever else you might need to keep an eye on from your watchtower.
Defend the Outpost!
You can play this game inside or out. To start, find a room or outdoor space with enough room to move. Then create your outpost. Use cardboard boxes or couch cushions to hide behind (if you’re playing inside), or buckets, trees, or other objects if you’re outside. Keep it small, like a real outpost would be. Then, grab a sibling or family member and a few soft balls or pieces of wadded-up paper. Their job is to get as many balls into your outpost. Your job is to keep the balls out. Who will win? Take turns defending and attacking!