KITCHENER -- A local telescope store said there's been a surge in recent sales as people look for new ways to stay entertained amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The phone at KW Telescope has been ringing off the hook lately. Shannon Cameron said customers are calling with questions about stargazing.

"There is a real big curiousity in looking at the stars and it's a pretty complicated subject matter," Cameron said.

She said the pandemic has sparked an increase in sales.

"It's hard to keep up," Cameron said.

Observing the night sky has become a popular pastime as people spend more time at home.

"I think because it's a safe thing to do, it's also educational, it's fun, and you can do it in your own backyard," Cameron said.

The boom in interest has created a backlog, leaving some avid stargazers like Gerry Bissett waiting longer than usual.

"It took three months to get something that should've taken a few days shipping with UPS or whatever," said Bissett, who owns an observatory.

"The challenge right now is just making sure everyone who wants a telescope can get a telescope, even though it may be a major delay in their order," Cameron said.

Binoculars are also a popular purchase these days with more people taking up birdwatching.

"I started getting into birdwatching over the pandemic as a way to find something to do, being able to socially distance but still be active," said Lauren Todd.

The new hobbies are giving people plenty to see as Todd and others look at life through a new lens.