Take It Outside

We want you to Take It Outside again in 2024!

There’s a great big world out there to explore, and the forest preserves are a great place to start. Whether you’re looking for an active or leisurely pursuit, you’ll find your happy place in the preserves. Whatever you do, make sure to make time to immerse yourself in nature. 

Need a little motivation? Go on a wild goose chase through our interactive challenge. Be sure to read the rules.

Looking to try something new this year? Or maybe you need a new place to explore? Check out these recreation ideas to get you moving: 


We're changing up the 2024 Take It Outside challenge

Take It Outside is back for 2024, but we’re making some changes to keep it fresh. Instead of one yearlong challenge we will have four seasonal challenges.

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Meet the winners of last year's challenge

Twelve people completed all 501 missions released as part of our 2023 Take It Outside challenge, and they all had different takeaways from the experience.

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Join us for a Take It Outside hike on March 10

This year we will be leading guided hikes in each season as part of the Take It Outside challenge. The first hike will be a Spring Fling at Messenger Woods on Sunday, March 10.

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Feeling blue? Learn how to embrace winter

If winter’s not your favorite season, you’re far from alone. Need ideas to get outside? Here are five ideas to help you embrace the beauty of winter.

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Take It Outside merch on sale now

Want to show your support for our Take It Outside campaign? We've got T-shirts, hats and bandanas that you — or your dog — can proudly sport on your next trip to the preserves.

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You can beat cabin fever with a winter walk

Trying to beat the winter blues? Check out these preserves for a hike that will help you embrace the season.

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Survival stories: How animals endure winter

Wild animals have many different ways to survive winter. Some sleep through it, others flee it altogether. Many, though, simply have to deal with it. 

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Fingers crossed for snowy owl sightings

Need something to motivate you to keep hiking this winter? A snowy owl sighting is a real treat, and these beauties only show up here in the winter.

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Goodenow Grove: A winter wonderland

At 891 acres, Goodenow Grove is one of the Forest Preserve District’s largest preserves, and it’s a great place to explore in winter. With miles and miles of trails traversing every type of habitat, no two trips will be alike. Enjoy a quick hike around Snapper Pond or plan a longer trip out to the big bridge to enjoy the scenic views. And don’t forget your sleds if there’s snow on the ground! The sled hill near the nature center is one of just a few places in the preserves where you can fulfill your need for speed.

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Hammel Woods: It shines in all four seasons

Hammel Woods can be especially tranquil and peaceful in winter, especially under a fresh blanket of snow. Enjoy a quiet walk through the woods or head to the DuPage River to check out the action.

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Hidden Oaks: Spend winter in the woods

Hidden Oaks Preserve holds signs of life in all seasons, so make sure to make time for a walk in the woods. Need to warm up after a hike? Head into the nature center, where you can check out the interactive nature exhibits.

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Funding for this campaign is provided by The Nature Foundation of Will County. Additional prizes are furnished by Wild Birds Unlimited in Joliet.(Opens in a new window).