My wife and I recently visited a nature center renowned for rehabilitating sea turtles and seahorses and home to several displays of tropical fish. It was a wonderful place to walk through, including the quarter-mile boardwalk through some trees from the parking lot to the visitors center.

I hadn’t seen seahorses so close up and was fascinated by their size and the exaggerated curve of their form. Meanwhile, the sea turtles were very active — I didn’t spot a single one just hanging out in the water, staying still. They’re all being well taken care of and fed until they’re healthy enough to be released into the ocean.

As we approached a large tank full of various species of fish, a docent welcomed us and explained who occupied it. She was very knowledgable, telling stories about some of the inhabitants, including the baby fish who hide in the mangroves to keep them safe from predators, while others of every size swim around the exterior.

Whenever I’m in a setting like that, I’m happy to take in the information being shared, and often come up with a question or two I’m curious about. My problem is there’s so much to absorb that fifteen seconds later, I can’t remember most of what I just heard.

Next, we moved on to deeper glass-enclosed tanks with coral, anemones, and lots more sea creatures (plus one human wearing a wetsuit and scuba tank while cleaning the inside of the windows). We spotted a seven-foot-long green moray eel, a scary-looking barracuda with teeth I hope to never encounter under different circumstances, a couple of stingrays, and a slew of absolutely beautiful fish with eye-catching iridescent colors and patterns.

As we approached the final tank, another docent came over to tell us what we were looking at, but in terms that made us a bit queasy. As she pointed out various species of fish — snapper, grouper, mackerel, tarpon — we were surprised when she casually told us how they tasted. Martha and I were taken aback, and not just because we don’t eat fish.

I know plenty of people do, but it seemed quite odd to be an employee of an organization that cares for aquatic animals in a scientific setting while simultaneously pondering which ones to have for dinner.